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Rocks, Riddles and Mysteries by Edward J. Lenik


Folk Art, Inscriptions and Other Stories in Stone

Archaeologist and author Ed Lenik is widely known for his expertise in northeastern Native American rock art. In the course of his travels and research, he has encountered many strange and curious historical rock and stone carvings and structures, some of which may be regarded as Indian, but the majority of which by his reckoning are “white guy” art. This book describes those sites and objects and the fascinating stories behind their creation.

Puzzling, captivating, and at time bewildering, these  historical curiosities include faces, animals, designs, patterns and scenes carved on rocks through New England, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The author has personally probed and researched each site in some detail, learning when it was first noticed and what the local people had to say about why it was there and who carved or painted it.

Tourist attractions? Boy Scout art? Idle play among quarry workers? Archaeological fraud? Hebrew inscriptions? Outsider art? Norse runes? You can decide, since a handy “See For Yourself” section invites you to visit the sites that are publicly accessible so that you may draw your own conclusions.

Designed to be used in the field, or as an enjoyable read in the armchair, this guide will transport the reader on an adventure of discovery, visiting curious places, looking at mysterious rocks and hearing the stories they have to tell.

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About the Author

Ed Lenik, New Jersey archeologist

Ed Lenik is a Registered Archaeologist, is a past president of the Archaeological Society of New Jersey and the Eastern State Archaeological Federation.  As honorary curator of archaeology at Bear Mountain's Trailside Museums in New York, he is a well-known speaker and hike leader in northern New Jersey and southeastern New York. 


Format: 6" x 9" perfect bound paperback on acid-free creme paper
218, including table of contents, text, glossary of rock art terms, "See for Yourself" guides to sites you can visit,  bibliography, acknowledgments and index.
Illustrations: 124, including black and white photographs of various sites discussed in the book and line drawings.
Published: May, 2011

ISBN 13:
LCCN: 2011901138
Price: $18.95


“Edward Lenik’s remarkable survey of rock art of the Northeast continues with this fascinating study of historic period renderings that have awaited explanations.  He has produced an informative read that clears up sometimes wild misconceptions.”
    - Geoff Welch, Curator, Harmony Hall, National Register of Historic Places Site, Sloatsburg, New York

 "Everyone, from armchair historians to parents looking for an outing, will enjoy Lenik’s book on rock carvings…. The result is a series of colorful tales of European history in America, of images hidden or lost in grottos, on bedrock, or on ‘autograph ledges.’ Rock carvings have a story to tell and Lenik can interpret the language of stone."
    - Dr. Carol Siri Johnson, Associate Professor of Humanities, New Jersey Institute of Technology, member of  the North Jersey Highlands Historical Society and author of The Language of Work


"In Rocks, Riddles and Mysteries Ed Lenik digresses from his serious American Indian rock art studies to examine historic period "rock art" that he has encountered during his decades of fieldwork in the Northeast. From claims of prehistoric carvings, to historic graffiti, to supposed Norse runes, Lenik applies archeological methods in evaluating the age and "authticity" of more than 100 sites, images and objects. And while he is often forced to conclude that the meaning of a particular stone carving remains unknown, he infuses local history in his discussion of each rock art example. A particularly entertaining passage is his examination of "Indian Rock" in Orange, County, New York--this boulder covered with a series of aboriginal-looking pictographs is exposed as a leftover prop from the campy movie Luggage of the Gods. Rocks, Riddles and Mysteries is not an archeological treatise; but it is a serious examination of historic rock carvings, providing local history vignettes, and delivering an interesting and enjoyable read."
    - Journal of Middle Atlantic Archeology, Volume 28, 2012, p.164


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This product was added to our catalog on Friday 13 May, 2011.

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